Momentous day yesterday. I had the last full radiation session. For the next five days, I have the less invasive targeted radiation, only on the scar itself where apparently the tumors were found. This means the rest of my radiated skin will now begin to heal. It never got very bad. One small square under my arm was quite red, peeling, and hurt a bit, but nothing I couldn't handle. Thus, the worst is over.
My doctor was flummoxed by the strange rashes I have had. He has no idea what they are and why they popped up outside the radiated zone. He told me my theory that my immune system was stressed by radiation, and thus the rashes broke out, was a good thought. He felt that could be the case.
My nurse has never had anyone report strange rashes in the ten years she has worked in radiation. She felt the rashes could be stress induced -- not from the radiation but from all the emotional and physical stressors in my life right now. She suggested I consider postponing my NY trip to my folks for a few days.
She makes a good point. My plans were to drive to my son in Richmond, and then on to NY the day after completing radiation. Waiting a few days will allow my skin, and my broken rib a little more time to heal. It does indeed hurt to drive with the broken rib, especially turning to look over my shoulder. Every time I back up or park, it is accompanied with sharp stabs of pain.
Anyway, the doctor felt I would not likely feel any worse than I do now, and would slowly heal from this point forward. In radiation, the cancer cells are killed, but even the normal cells are damaged. They can, and will recover, but that is a stress on the body. It is probably why fatigue is such a big issue with most people who undergo radiation. (I definitely have slowed down, and even nap now and then in these final weeks of radiation.)
I thought about what is going on in my body physically and was struck by the spiritual parallel. When we come to know Christ, our old sinful self is destroyed. We are being made new, sanctified by the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. It is not an easy process. The old self is dying, and the new self is struggling to live, to emerge. It is indeed at times exhausting, with setbacks and failures. We do not become Christ-like overnight. It is a process. The old self dies. The new self grows stronger.
We will overcome and be victorious ultimately, but it will take an entire lifetime. Perfection will not be possible until we are reunited with Christ in Heaven. Fortunately, this is where the analogy ends. My rib and skin will heal faster than it takes to reach full sanctification.
My nurse tells me that within a month, I will be good as new.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it.
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.